Materials lead sectoral declines
Canadian dollar weakens
BoC, Fed maintain hawkish tone
TSX down 0.7%
By Khushi Singh
Sept 21 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit over three-week lows on Thursday as commodity stocks tracked a decline in the prices of oil and most metals after the U.S. Federal Reserve hardened its hawkish stance.
At 10:25 a.m. ET (1425 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 144.3 points, or 0.71%, at 20,070.39.
The Canadian dollar weakened against the greenback on Thursday while yields on benchmark government bond climbed.
The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.5%, hitting its lowest level in four weeks.
Copper prices fell to their lowest in almost four months, and gold extended its decline for a third consecutive day following the Fed's tightening bias.
The heavyweight energy sector was down 0.3%, while rate-sensitive technology stocks fell 1.3%.
The U.S. central bank on Wednesday maintained interest rates but signalled more rate hikes, projecting a quarter-percentage-point increase to 5.50-5.75% by the year-end.
"The Fed will be in no rush to begin the easing cycle, and we may have to wait until the second half of next year for the first rate cut," said Matthew Ryan, head of market strategy at Ebury.
The Bank of Canada has also kept the door open for further tightening after domestic inflation in August was higher than expected.
However, across the Atlantic, the Bank of England finally halted its long run of interest rate increases as Britain's economy slowed and inflation fell, but Governor Andrew Bailey stressed that the central bank did not think its job was done.
Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions between India and Canada continue to mount as India suspended visa services for Canadian citizens after Canada this week said it had intelligence possibly linking Indian government agents to the murder of a separatist Sikh leader. (Reporting by Khushi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)